Social Rationality: Do People Use Just One Cue to Make Social Judgments About You and Me?
There is a raging debate in the social sciences about whether simple heuristics or complex integration models best describe how people make a range of judgments and decisions. A substantial portion of research has led to the conclusion that using heuristics simple mental strategies that people use to deal with our uncertain world (e.g., tit for tat) results in erroneous decisions. Indeed, it has long been assumed that the best decision (political, social, economic, personal, etc) are made when people search indefinitely for endless amounts of information, have knowledge of every relevant aspect, weigh all the available information according to importance, and finally perform intractable mathematical and statistical calculations. Unfortunately, such an assumption about the human mind is psychologically implausible; due to limited time, knowledge, and cognitive and physical resources. Heuristics have evolved over time not as suboptimal decision-making strategies, but as effective strategies that we can use to make everyday judgments and decisions in a complex world. My colleagues and I are currently examining the extent to which a simple heuristic model describes how people actually make judgements about the attitudes (i.e., liberalism) of others based only upon the physical appearance of those people.
01 Jan 2006
31 Dec 2008
NSERC Discovery Grant
Strategic Research Theme